Her head buried in the pages of her history textbook, Asabe suddenly looks up with a curious face and says to her mum who was knitting a sweater beside her, “Who is Jesus?”
Puzzled, her mum sets aside the sweater she was knitting, “Jesus?” She asks again like she had not heard her clearly initially. “Well, all I know is what I learnt from my Professors and history textbooks.” She continued. “Apart from being used as an expression of exclamation, I learnt he was the pioneer of the Christian religion that lasted for about 3,500 years.” Records have it that there are still few Christians but their activities are majorly covert.”
I fear that one day, this might be the fate of Christianity if appropriate caution is not taken. Our attitude as Christians might bring about this grim reality. My stay in the Northern part of Nigeria brought a lot of things into perspective for me especially as regarding the Christian faith.
I will outline in subsequent paragraphs, some grey areas I noticed in the exercise of our faith.
Discipleship and Mentorship: Most young Christians make irreparable mistakes that are actually avoidable because they lack disciplers; people who can guide, instruct, correct and discipline them when they need it.
The essence of discipleship is to make you deeply rooted in the truth that you have come to accept. The tragedy is that many of these undiscipled Christians are quick grab the pulpits and microphones.
So, though they have zeal for the Lord and his work, their zeal is not according to knowledge.
One intersting thing about Islam is the radicalism of her discipleship process. Living for a full year in Katsina, I learnt that for Muslims, Islam is not just a religion; it is a way of life because it determined their mode of dressing, their daily routine and their cosmic view in general.
I remember going to the market on a Friday when it was already time for Jumat Service and I had to wait for almost two hours before getting the goods I came to buy because all shops were locked and every man, great or small, was on the prayer mat. From that day, I knew better. Thenceforth, there was no shopping for me on Fridays. I learnt a lesson that day; even money cannot deter a devout muslim from prayer.
The secondary and primary school students have contact with the Quran everyday. They take Quranic lessons everyday at their Islamiyya and because some go for their Quranic classes in the morning, they attend school later in the evening. Little wonder, they are so dogged about their faith. Remember, Faith comes by hearing.
It is only unfortunate that when we come to Christian Circles, the reverse is the case; we make our faith adjust to other components of our lives.For most of us, Money seeking comes before Kingdom seeking. We often forget Jesus’ words:
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
Thankfully, some schools are beginning to have Bible Clubs to make Christian students become firmly rooted in the truth.
Another subject like discipleship is Mentorship. Paul and Timothy shared a son-father relationship in the faith but in modern day Chrustianity, most of us are fatherless. We do not have any spiritual authority that we are answerable to. Little wonder we make so many avoidable mistakes. Why struggle re-inventing the wheel when you can learn from your predecessors?
It is very disheartening to hear exclamations like “Jeez!”, “Jesus” from Christians and humorously even Muslims. Oh! How we have belittled the most powerful name in heaven and on earth. I have noticed that before or after the Prophet of Islam, Mohammed is named(orally or in writing) by a Muslim, there is always a reverential note to it. This brings to mind, the story of a youth corps member who served in one of the rural communities of Katsina as a teacher. During an English exam, he used the name “Mohammed” as an option in the Objective Questions without any form of reverence. One of the parents of the children saw the question paper, became infuriated and incited others against the corps member. But for the timely intervention of some persons, that corps member would have lost his life! It was that serious.
Sound and Uniform Doctrine
One thing I admire about the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah Witness sect is the uniformity of their doctrine. Uniformity of doctrine is one thing that has eluded the Church for too long. We need to get to that place where all believers in Jesus agree on certain fundamentals of our faith.
Before the expiration of their teenage years, most Muslims can boast of having read the entire Quaran. It is however only unfortunate that Bible schools have now become a thing of spiritual prestige rather than a thing of learning and growth for most attendees.
Church Services, which for some persons is the only opportunity to learn the Word have also become a theatre of sorts. We now tell people what they want to hear and not what they need to hear.
Most of us have relegated the Holy Spirit to the background and we have tried to make Church more lively by introducing Business Clinics, Comedy and Entertainment. But how effective are these means when it comes to breeding deep and mature Christians?
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
2 Corinthians 3:17
We are very privileged to have come to the knowledge of the truth of salvation. One that guarantees freedom from the ceremonial practices of the old covenant. It is however, really pitiable that we have now become slaves of freedom. It is not really easy to distinguish a believer from a non-believer in their outward appearance anymore especially the female folk. Let us express our liberty with concern for for others
But take heed lest by any means this liberty of your’s become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols.
1 Corinthians 8:9-10
The above is by no means exhaustive of the issues that need to be addressed. They just happen to be the ones I am really concerned about.
Before Christianity becomes a time-bound topic in Asabe’s history textbook, before Asabe’s mum looks at her daughter in disbelief for calling the name Jesus, before Christianity becomes a thing of the past, let each one of us take the responsibility of being more rooted in the truth and teach others the truth.
Let each one of us live in a manner that tells the world that we will not be the last of our kind!